Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader: Selected Short Fiction 1980-2005

Howard Waldrop  - published April 2014

April 2014 · ebook · $9.95 · 9781618730794

Available in trade cloth and trade paper from Old Earth Books.

In this Locus Award finalist, Howard Waldrop selects sixteen of his own short stories (with help from Michael Walsh and Jonathan Strahan). At some point Hollywood will discover the one and only culture mashup genius brain of Howard Waldrop. He’s their biggest fan and movies will be made . . . get in on the ground floor! From the extinct to the pinpoint of the zeitgeist, Waldrop mixes and matches pop culture until you’re never sure if it’s history or fiction you’re reading. Either way, the deeper you delve, the better it gets.

Waldrop’s unique introduction (“Welcome to the shattered remnants of what I laughingly refer to as my career.”) and afterwords (“You can imagine my horror and intellectual fear when a fantasy story came to me.”) give naked insights into his life as a writer: from living on $7,000 (on a good year) to killing magazines — including his “pride and joy? I killed Amazing. TWICE!!”

“The 16 stories in this retrospective volume from World Fantasy Award–winner Waldrop tend to be more sober and less zany than those in his previous collection, Heart of Whitenesse (2005). Highlights include “The Lions Are Asleep This Night,” a touching alternate history of a would-be playwright set in Africa; “French Scenes,” in which Francophiles make movies using computers; and “Household Words or the Powers That Be,” a tale Dickens fans are sure to love.”
Publishers Weekly

“Waldrop has chosen 16 of his best short stories and written a new afterword to each. The book opens with the multiple award-winner “The Ugly Chickens,” in which a chance remark on a bus leads a young researcher into backwoods Mississippi to discover the real fate of the dodo. It closes with a tale of alternate realities, “The King of Where-I-Go,” somehow combining the polio epidemic of the early 1950s, the famous ESP experiments at Duke, and a man’s love for H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine. . . . The best Waldrops tend to mix the humorous and wistful. What if robotic versions of Mickey, Donald and Goofy, designed for an amusement park, were the last creatures on Earth? What if the Martians landed in Pachuco County, Tex., back in the late 19th century, and a kind of Slim Pickens character was the sheriff in charge of keeping the peace?”
— Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

Table of Contents

The Ugly Chickens
Flying Saucer Rock and Roll
Heirs of the Perisphere
The Lions Are Asleep This Night
Night of the Cooters
Do Ya, Do Ya, Wanna Dance?
Wild, Wild Horses
French Scenes
Household Words; or, The Powers-That-Be
The Sawing Boys
Heart of Whitenesse
Mr. Goober’s Show
The Dynasters
Calling Your Name
King of Where-I-Go

“Howard Waldrop is the Studebaker Golden Hawk of genre fiction, a classic of structure and design. His unique stories autopsy the entrails of our eccentric past and reveal, often in oracular fashion, insanities to come.”
— Lucius Shepard

“The only problem with THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME is that it’s not nearly long enough. Sure, sure, it’s chock full of great stories by the best short fiction writer of his generation, modern classics like “The Ugly Chickens” and “Flying Saucer Rock n Roll” and “Heart of Whitenesse” and many more . . . but there are two or three times as many terrific Waldrop stories, equally good and sometimes even better, that have been left out for want of space. There’s only one solution. Read this book . . . and then go out and track down all of Waldrop’s other collections and read them too.”
— George R. R. Martin

“Howard Waldrop doesn’t have e-mail. He doesn’t have a word processor. He doesn’t surf the Internet. I guess that means he spends most of his time writing. From my point of view as a devoted Waldrop reader, I’m eternally grateful to the Luddite in him.”
— Janis Ian

“You want funny? Howard’s got funny. You want weird? Howard’s got weird. You want mind-bending? You’re about to get it.”
— Cory Doctorow

“There’s no better writer alive than Howard Waldrop, and here are all his best stories, with funny and fascinating afterwords — you need this book.”
— Tim Powers

“It always feels like Christmas when a new Howard Waldrop collection arrives, and this one is as crammed with wonderful presents as Santa’s sack.  This is even better than getting a BB gun!”
— Connie Willis

“You don’t have to know a lot to read Howard Waldrop’s fiction, but it helps. His stories are packed with inside jokes, allusions, historic and pop-cultural references which sometimes leave you wondering if you got everything out of it he put into it. That’s why this collection of his short fiction is such a treasure: each story has an afterword written by Howard himself explaining (some of) the punch lines you may have missed, the premise he based it on, the circumstances under which he wrote, and anything else he felt his readers should know. (The continuing saga of how he single-handedly shut down a number of publications just by having a story accepted is truly amazing.)”
— Judy Newton, SFRevu

— “Enthusiastically recommended for science fiction and fantasy buffs everywhere.”
Midwest Book Review